In January, we spoke to the NSM leader who was killed on Sunday
By Dave Maass
San Diego CityBeat | May 03, 2011
Among those in the white-nationalist community and those, like us, who follow it, the death of Jeff Hall was huge news. The Riverside County resident served as the public face and regional director of California's National Socialist Movement, more commonly known as the Neo-Nazis. The 32-year-old, who used the rank of "lieutenant," ran for the Riverside County Water Board and was involved in high-profile activism in Arizona.
According to the L.A. Times, Hall was shot in his home on Sunday and police have taken his 10-year-old son into custody as a suspect.
In January 2011, we interviewed Hall after he posted a note on a message board that the San Diego unit of the military-style political party was recruiting. We never ran the interview, but we transcribed it in light of his death. It provides an interesting glimpse into not only the organization, but Hall's own voice. We have made minor edits to eliminate repetition and half-finished sentences. We have also deleted the writer's digressions and moved one question and answer so it is more appropriate in the flow of subject matter. Otherwise, the interview is largely uncut.
How big is the membership in San Diego County?
We don't discuss the size.
Is there a ballpark figure? Are we talking 5 guys or are we talking 5,000?
We don't give numbers, but I will say collectively, the NSM is the largest pro-white group in California. We have three units in California: San Diego, Inland Empire and NorCal unit.
Why don't you guys talk about size?
First of all, I signed an agreement, a non-disclosure form. I don't talk about numbers, names, or the size of our group.
I understand names, I was just wondering what the rationale is for numbers.
I don't make the rules. I follow the rules.
That's interesting. It just makes it difficult for me to be able to quantify.
I'd say 70 percent of our membership don't, whether it's their jobs, family, whatever reason, they don't want their faces on television or newspapers. They will not show up to rallies. And yet, San Diego was alone was able to pull about 25 to 30 members to a local rally, which isn't bad.... Sometimes it's just hard to get people active and out on the streets. That's been an issue I think for any group. Just because you feel strongly, you have convictions, doesn't mean you necessarily show up for street-level activism. It's not for everyone, but if one small unit can pull that many members onto the streets for a local rally, that's not bad.
[The San Diego unit] also conducts border operations along with the Inland Empire Unit. We work together. Much like the Minutemen, we patrol the border on observe-and-report operations.
How often do you do that?
It depends on how many days we're going for. We had a regional border operation in Arizona and that was for almost a week and we've done that a couple of times. Last year I believe we were in Arizona three times for anywhere from three to five days. The California border, we go out there for just a couple days and we do that twice a month on average right now.
So when you guys are out there, observing and reporting, you guys ever come across anything to report?
Oh, yes. Three out of five operations at the California border, we observed crossings and we reported them. In Arizona we've come across dead bodies. In fact I myself had to fill out a police report after finding a body in Arizona. There's crossings all the time. You just put yourself in the right place and there's always something to report, every time you go out there. Three out of five times you're reporting someone who's literally jumping over the border fence or running from Mexico into America. The majority of the border has no fence.
Where did you find that body?
That was in Arizona. He had actually gotten a couple miles into America.
Was he shot?
No, it was dehydration. It was during the summer and it was a hot one. When we were out there, it was actually the fall and I think it was 110 or something. You find bodies, you find tracks and garbage, but a lot of times you do see a lot of action. If Americans really care about the border they would actually stand at the border because it doesn't take people out there with firearms. It doesn't take all the protests to beef up security at the border. What it takes is Americans getting out there like the Minutemen do, like we do, to stop these illegal crossings. Our border patrol is heavily underfunded and that's just how it is and Americans need to stand up. If you are truly patriotic, you need to be willing to defend your land. Of course, we're not advocating violence, we're not calling for any illegal activity or vigilantism. What we're calling for is Americans to simply stand up at the border and say you're not allowed to across and to report any illegal activity they encounter.
So you guys aren't armed when you go down there?
You go to the border unarmed, that's pretty dangerous. But never in the many, many years that we've been doing it or I, myself, have been doing it have we ever been in any danger or our lives been threatened to where we ever used a firearm. Mostly what you see are people, whether they're drug runners, whether they're mules or they're simple people just trying to get here for work. If the border patrol is called in, as soon as they see the border patrol vehicle, they run. They're gone. They go back quicker than they came in. So, there's no need to put yourself in a position where you would need to defend yourself or there's no reason to call for violence. There's no reason to promote any such behavior when simply they see you or they see border patrol coming, they're gone. The cartel doesn't want to lose their drugs and the people coming here, they'll try another way another time.
Is there any military training involved?
Depending on what you're doing. When we take guys out you have to learn how to use a radio. Some of our guys use two way, so they have to have their ham licenses. We show you how to use the night vision, show you how to move around and we actually have a course here that we use and we're looking at actually purchasing property in Arizona for a training ground.
A few months back, we got all these press releases from the US Attorney's office about "Operation Stormfront," with a bunch of white nationalists getting arrested. Did that affect you guys at all?
No, no. We do not promote any illegal behavior. In our monthly meetings, what we talk about is National Socialism. They're very family oriented. We concentrate on state and national politics. We study and discuss the theory of American National Socialism and ways to practice the elements of National Socialism. We talk about practice, family unity, building strong bonds with friends and neighbors, community service. We have several NSM units throughout the nation that have registered and started adopt-a-highway programs, where they clean up the freeway or the highway. We have the signs and someone always complains about it and it goes to court and we win and that stretch of highway's never been cleaner. Some of our guys do graffiti clean up. We believe we serve all communities by patrolling the border in Arizona and California. Some people just donate time and money to charitable organizations in our community. But we do talk about charity work and community service, living a drug-free, non-dependency life. All our members must be drug free. If we see someone is an alcoholic, even though it's legal, it's a drug, and we try to get them help before removal. We're very strict and just basically living a righteous life of morals and values. We don't promote any of the illegal activities that land people in jail.
Now, I can't say that all of our members are angels, being the largest National Socialist group in America, we have three units in California alone, we're in almost every state, we're in a national group. When it comes down to it, honestly the most abnormal thing about our group is how normal everyone is. We work 9-5 jobs. We try to pay our bills and take care of our kids.
I remember the original post I saw on Stormfront.... Someone had posted a link to American Front. These are different organizations, right? Do you guys work together? Are you guys in competition?
No, there's no competition. There's different groups. Obviously, a Klan organization is going to be Christian based. The vast majority of Klan organizations are not National Socialists, they're capitalists. They might have that pro-white element, but they're not as political. The National Socialist movement is a political organization. I ran for water board, myself. I didn't do too bad, 30 percent of the vote for a dry run, not investing any money, just seeing how we could do. We're going to hit it harder next time. Brian Holland was the National Socialist presidential candidate. We're a political organization, where these groups are more religious, so you choose a group where you fit in. The National Socialist movement isn't a Christian-based group. We don't bring religion into it.
We actually work with many, many of these groups throughout America and our NSM Britannia unit over in the U.K., they work with several different organizations. Their supporters sometimes come out to our events or just order off our website to help us fund our projects.
I'm not saying that all groups get along. It's just you like you have these open border groups, you have a thousand of them because a lot of them just don't get along for whatever reason. You do have a little bit of that. Some entire groups out there will put down other groups, but you see those groups usually have 5 to 10 people, you know what I mean? Their entire national organization is smaller than the meetings we host here. That's why. Because they're not conducting themselves with honor and dignity, which is what people look for within the white movement.
So how did you guys react to the Gabrielle Giffords shooting?
Obviously the guy was very disturbed, you know? He was at all ends of the spectrum in his political and social beliefs. He was at two different polar ends and the guy was basically a nutjob. You can't turn around and say it was her fault. But she has her own political beliefs and you can't say the guy who did it was a nutjob and that's it. Obviously, the whole thing is disturbing. She was shot over political beliefs, at least you can only hope it's political beliefs instead of just she was picked at random. It's a scary world where you have crazy people doing crazy things, but we have no reaction. It's just some random incident, some nutjob, making poor decisions, if he was even thinking.
The only reason I ask is because we had a local guy... [I tell the story of Aurick the Great White Elf]
What you're talking about is your textbook Net Nazi. Those are people that talk big on the computer. They want other people to start a revolution. They want to call for it and if anything good came out of it, they would want to take credit for it. When it comes to going out in to the streets like the NSM does, they're a no show.
He got out to a very safe environment with a political candidate where he could wave his sign and say, 'This is my boy.' I think a lot of us have gone to support a candidate that they like... I tell you, when you're out there and you're holding these rallies and saying this is who I am, this is what I am, this is the banner I fly and you're marching through riots like our members have, it's a little different. Whether it's the riots in Toledo or last November in Arizona, it's our guys out there standing by their beliefs. We're not the guys waving the signs around or making wild videos. We're the guys running candidates or running ourselves.
If somebody wants to come and check out what's going on, what can they expect? Are you they going to go through some sort of screening process? Surely there are elements that would like to infiltrate the local NSM chapters.
We do have security. We do ask you to fill out an application. Your application is reviewed. You are asked to give some personal information. Then you are on probation until you're accepted into the group. I, myself, have gone through a background check and I've signed a non-disclosure form to be where I'm at. So, if you're going to have names and contacts, privileged information, you're going to be going through a background check and you're going to be signing a non-disclosure form. But if you're just a member, you just want to be a party member, you can fill out an application, send in cash for donations. If you just want to play a supporter role, if you want to come to meetings, you can come to meetings. In other words, you know John next to you and you know Cindy to the left you, but you don't have their full names, you don't have their address and phone number unless they trust you enough t give that to you. Each member is told you don't know who the person next to you really is and you slowly build up the camaraderie with the new people. It's just like anything in life. We do have tighter security than most groups, but it has kept us going for 36 years.
When you join, are you assigned a rank?
You start of as a probate and then depending on what division, you either go to private or storm trooper, then it's private, private first class. It's just like the army.
How do you move up? Is it merit-based or is it like some sort of Scientology thing where you pay money and do classes?
[Laughing] No-no. None of our members are as nutty as Tom Cruise. First of all it comes down to commitment. You need to make it to meetings, you need to learn about National Socialism, the ideology, and then you need to take on responsibly. Those who are doing what they need to do, those who are dedicating themselves and taking whatever's offered, classes, and those that take on additional responsibilities, those are the ones that climb in rank. If you show you can handle responsibility, then you're given responsibility and given appropriate rank with tha
How does the due system work?
The due system? It's 10 bucks a month.
That's pretty reasonable.
We're probably the cheapest, because we're so large and we have NSM88 Records, we don't need to charge a lot to fund all of our projects.